By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Hideki Matsui homered against his former team,
Rich Harden earned his second win of the season and the Oakland
Athletics snapped an 11-game losing streak to the New York Yankees
with a 4-3 victory Saturday.
Andrew Bailey barely held on in the ninth inning, allowing a run
before retiring Robinson Cano on an easy grounder with a runner on
third to end it.
Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer off A.J. Burnett and Jemile
Weeks had an RBI single for the A’s, who beat the Yankees for the
first time since April 22, 2010, in Oakland.
The skid had been tied for the longest current slide by one big
league team against another. Minnesota had dropped 11 in a row
against Detroit going into Saturday’s matchup in Minneapolis.
About 14 hours after New York polished off a 17-7 rout in
100-degree heat, Harden and four relievers held the Yankees in
check on a 93-degree afternoon.
Derek Jeter had three hits and a walk for the Yankees. Nick
Swisher’s solo homer deep into the second in right cut Oakland’s
lead to 3-2 and chased Harden (2-1) in the sixth.
With two on and two outs in the seventh, Grant Balfour retired
Cano on a long fly to center. New York put the first two batters on
in the eighth, but Eduardo Nunez flied out after failing to get a
bunt down and pinch-hitter Jorge Posada grounded into an
inning-ending double play as Balfour pumped his fist.
Bailey worked the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances. His
first two batters reached safely and the Yankees pulled off a
double steal as Curtis Granderson struck out. Mark Teixeira hit a
sacrifice fly before Cano grounded out.
It was a rare loss under the sun for the Yankees, who began the
afternoon a major league-best 28-5 in day games. They also dropped
to 14-4 at home since June 10.
The recent series between these teams has been as lopsided as
they come. New York lost for only the second time in the last 17
meetings with Oakland and fell to 25-5 against the A’s since the
start of the 2008 season.
The Athletics have lost nine straight series to New York, an
Oakland record against any team. But they can end that slide Sunday
when All-Star lefty Gio Gonzalez faces Yankees veteran Bartolo
Making his fourth start since missing the first three months of
the season with a strained right shoulder, Harden threw 104 pitches
in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits
while striking out six and walking four.
Burnett (8-8) threw 100 pitches and dropped to 0-2 in four
starts since beating Milwaukee on June 29. He was yanked after
walking the Nos. 8 and 9 batters to load the bases with two outs in
the sixth and never looked at manager Joe Girardi on the mound.
Weeks followed with a soft single off Cory Wade to make it 3-1.
Leading off the seventh, Matsui pulled lefty reliever Boone
Logan’s first pitch just over the right-field fence for his 501st
home run combined between Japan and the United States.
Recalling all the big hits he delivered in pinstripes from
2003-09, fans in the crowd of 46,188 applauded as Matsui rounded
the bases. Some even stood up for the ovation.
Matsui was the 2009 World Series MVP for the Yankees when they
Trying to move season-high 20 games over .500, New York jumped
on top in the second when Cano blooped a double and scored on
Russell Martin’s two-out single.
The A’s answered in the third. Matsui singled with two outs and
Willingham homered into the Oakland bullpen in left-center, his
Yankees pitchers allowed only two homers in their previous 10
games. Oakland began the day with 54 homers, fewest in the American
Oakland right fielder David DeJesus, born in Brooklyn and raised
nearby in New Jersey, made a sparkling grab to rob Jeter of extra
bases in the first inning.
Jeter returned the favor in the third with a quick release on a
difficult jump-throw from the shortstop hole to nip DeJesus at
Harden fought his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth,
striking out rookie Brandon Laird with his 31st pitch of the
NOTES: Oakland had lost six straight and 13 of its last 14 in
the Bronx. … Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano (right elbow
inflammation) is scheduled to pitch Sunday for Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as part of his rehab assignment. … New York
reliever David Robertson struck out Ryan Sweeney to end the ninth,
the ninth consecutive batter he has fanned with the bases loaded.
… Cano was given a partial rest as the DH. Eduardo Nunez started
at 2B for the second time this season. … Laird made his first
major league start, at third base.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)